A few weeks ago we decided to make use of some of our Tesco clubcard vouchers and I exchanged them for Days Out vouchers to use with the Ironbridge Museums. There are 10 different museums within 6 miles of each other, in the Telford area, and the days out vouchers can be exchanged for an annual pass which gives you access to all of them. We decided to spend a day exploring Blists Hill Victorian Town, which is a living museum.
You do need to pay £3 to park on site, but this parking ticket also covers you to park at 5 other museum locations on the same day. Once we’d parked and exchanged our vouchers for our annual pass, it was time to explore all that Blists Hill Victorian Town has to offer. Daddy P and I had visited about 10 years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed our day, I was interested to visit again and see the day through my son’s eyes.
There’s a small café right by the entrance to the living museum, as well as a larger restaurant within the Fairground part of the museum. You can also buy fish and chips, and items from the bakery too.
Something we hadn’t done before, was visit Lloyd’s Bank, but when visiting with children this really is a must.
Once inside you can change some money into Blists Hill pre-decimal coins, which can be spent in shops around the site. My son had never seen coins like it before and for £2.40 he got a total of 6d (sixpence) and it actually went quite a long way.
There’s so much to see around Blists Hill Victorian Town, and you are free to wander in and out of the various shops, from the cycle showroom to the Chemist, and even a photography shop where you can actually have family portraits taken for a charge. My son didn’t fancy dressing up for this unfortunately but it did look like fun.
The Iron Foundry was a different kettle of fish though, he could have stayed there all day, as we watched the man put together various moulds ready to be filled with molten iron later in the week.
My son had seen a documentary showing the process and he was fascinated to see it all going on in real life. I was rather glued too, and totally forgot to take any photographs of the Iron Master at work. All too absorbed in the moment. We might have come home with a little cast iron steam train too.
The winding engine is a new exhibit since the last time we visited before my son was born and you can watch the wheel mechanism turning to power the cage as it goes up and down into the mine shaft.
When my OH spent time exploring Blists Hill Victorian Town the Trevithick steam engine was steamed up and on show out on the line. The train wasn’t running on this particular visit but we still got to see the replica as we headed towards the ruins of the Brick and Tile Works.
Exploring Blists Hill Victorian Town is just wonderful for children as they can let their imagination run free, and imagine life from a bygone age.
The inclined lift also wasn’t working when we visited so we carried on walking along the canal path until we reached the Hay Inclined Plane.
My son took great pleasure in explaining to me and his father how it would’ve worked back in the Victorian age, moving cargo from the canal to the works below and back up.
At the far end of the Blists Hill Victorian Town you come to the fairground area where there are various rides for children to enjoy (depending on the season). You can also visit the school and take part in lessons. You can also see the remains of the old blast furnaces.
We got to see the Shelton Tollhouse as well as looking around the Mission Church. We would have liked to take a ride on the Mine Railway & Mine Experience but sadly that was also closed when we visited in June.
My son spent the first of his pennies in the Decorative Plaster shop, picking his initial letter to paint at home. He also bought some fudge in the Sweet shop and a gingerbread man from the Bakers.
There are character actors all around the town who really add to the whole experience, they are all so knowledgeable too, and make you feel that you really have stepped back in time.
For children learning about the Industrial Revolution, these sorts of attractions are a must in my opinion, and so much better than googling information!
We spent the majority of our day out exploring Blists Hill Victorian Town, but had just enough time to make a quick visit to Enginuity and the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron before we headed home. (More on those in a future post). We could use the same parking ticket we’d used for the town, and both venues are within a minutes walk of each other. We;ll be making further use of our annual pass in the months to come I’m sure.
Have you visited?